Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lez-er Aller

The idea was to go and cycle to the Château d'Aumelas over the plateau from the D114. It involved sorting out how to get the bikes into/onto the Alfa, the first time I'd attempted this, and took a while.

By the time we were ready to go it was gone 6pm and I needed petrol, so a trek out to Aumelas became much less attractive. Instead, we decided to go to Lattes and try to find the cycle path along the river Lez to Palavas.

I parked at the Port Ariane and we set off to find the path. Unfortunately, works are still going on to shore up the banks and prevent flooding so our quest was hopeless. At every access point, we found barriers and fencing preventing us getting on to the path.

Instead we meandered around Lattes which is not an unpleasant place and eventually came across the cycle path to the sea. It's a separate itinerary which goes through the countryside and although I knew about its existence, I had never found out how to get to it. It was exactly what we wanted - to cycle on the flat, off the road and nowhere near traffic. Actually, when I say 'we', I mean my TWDB and me because the boys would have preferred something more challenging and up and down...

There were several stables along the way with horses, ponies and a couple of foals out in the fields. They looked well-fed and contented munching away or just standing meditating. We then came to the area around the lagoon where the flora changed from field grasses and cultivated lettuce to marsh plants. It was so peaceful and beautiful.

When we came to Les Premières Cabanes however, we approached the main road to Palavas and although we could barely see it, we could definitely hear it. The people living in the charming little cottages seemed to have an idyllic spot on the river, but with pounding traffic a few metres away I would not have cared to live there.

At the bridge over the Canal du Rhone à Sète, my youngest suggested we come off the path to the sea and take the track along the canal instead, so we did. We took the direction towards Carnon and, far from the road, cycled in peace and quiet. The temperature was really pleasant and a light wind helped push us along. Looking left, we could see all the way to Montpellier, and beyond to the Pic St Loup.

Half way to Carnon, we turned back and set my youngest's mile-ometer to zero. It was a bit more difficult on the way back as the wind picked up, forcing us to peddle harder. It's a popular path with cyclists, roller bladers, joggers and families out for a stroll all using it, but it's also wide enough for everyone to get by without a problem.

As we approached Lattes, we decided to stay on the path to see where it started so that we wouldn't have to go round the houses again next time. Having sussed that out, we called our local pizza place, ordered 3 pizzas to pick up, and dashed home in the car with healthy appetites.

Definitely a route to do again, all 4km of it.

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